interactive keys

Dmitry Dmitriev dmitriev at INHS.UIUC.EDU
Mon Mar 13 12:56:08 CST 2006

<>Dear Alessandra, Chris and others participated in Interactive keys

<>I have my own program for creating on-line interactive keys and
taxonomic databases.
It called 3I (Internet-accessible interactive identification) and based
on Microsoft Access database.
Several keys for leafhoppers are already created and available from the
following address:

I check the visit statistic on my web site to know what are the people
visiting the site are interested at. Yes you are right, only few are
come to the web site to use the key (or at least to know what it is).
But most of other people come for some additional information like
distribution of taxa, host plants, literature, illustration, etc. I
think the situation is similar to monographic publications. I know
several people who regularly visit the web site to retrieve some
information. I myself use the key almost daily. I am now working on huge
genus of leafhoppers Erythroneura with several hundred species. Most of
the species have never been revised or included into any key. They can
be identified only using original description or by comparison with
identified material. Many of the species are to be synonymized. I cannot
keep such amount of data in my head. I also cannot produce a dichotomic
key before looking through all the species. What I do, before placing a
new species to the datamatrix, I try to identify the species using the
key for already scored species. After using 3-5 “best” characters I
reduce search to less than 10 taxa, which I can compare with a new
species and decide either the species is a synonym to another one
already in the database, or the species is not in the key yet and I have
to place it to the database. So the program itself is powerful tool for
anybody doing revisionary study. It also can be very helpful for
creating dichotomic key for paper publication.

<>Anyway, the program is new. It is freely available for downloading
from the web site:
<>Anybody who wants to test the program and give me some comments is
welcome. Free version of MS Access is also available for downloading.
The program is specially designed for Internet publication, and cannot
run off-line. For publication, Windows based server is required, but the
keys can be viewed from any operating system and browser.

Comparison of the features of 3I program to those of IntKey, Lucid and
other programs for building interactive keys can be found on the
following web page: <>
The page is in Russian but all the features (from Mike Dallwitz’s
comparative table and some new features) are in English.

Regards, Dmitry

Dmitry A. Dmitriev
Illinois Natural History Survey
Center for Biodiversity
1816 S. Oak St., IL 61820 USA
Phone: (217) 244-9578
Fax:   (217) 244-0729
E-mail: dmitriev at, proceps at

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